The Stars youth program, which unites young people worldwide for Jewish heritage studies, gained momentum this summer in Ukraine, with two international trips – one to Israel and one to Europe – for program participants in July.
The first trip, which was attended by members of Ukraine’s ‘Stars Intensive’ (a program whose learning curriculum is more intense and that meets a few times a week) took 42 young people from all over the country on a week-long journey to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. This was the first European trip for the Ukrainian Stars program, and the participants were grateful and excited. “Our group was relatively small, and towards the end of the trip it really felt like family,” said Zalman Bokarev, the Stars Ukraine director. The group spent shabbat in Prague and had the opportunity to explore the city’s reach Jewish history and folklore. “The trip really contributed to the group’s Jewish spirit,” Bokarev said.
The second Stars trip was a “Yeshivacation,” where 50 Ukrainian students came to Israel to experience first-hand what’s it like learning in a yeshiva. The trip program was built in a way that emulated yeshiva studies, complete with lectures and learning delivered by the rabbis and educators, who came with the group.
“This is the first time our students had the chance to travel with the program, and they came back very inspired and enthusiastic,” Bokarev said. He added that the trips were organized with the help of Stars international management.
In the upcoming school year, the program in Ukraine hopes to increase the amount of collective shabbatons and seminars, which are very popular among the participants. Stars is active in almost every large Ukrainian city, with about 18 clubs and counts over 600 students country-wide.